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Human Resource Management - What is it good for?

Today, companies have become more people-orientated than ever, mainly because it enhances employee performance. Human Resource Management (HRM) allows employers and organizations to reach their objectives. HRM is not a new concept; it has been around for thousands of years, mainly invented to create large armies.


Significantly, the roman empire and their commanders were aware of the need for administration concerning soldiers. Twenty-five years of service was demanded, fair pay was granted - and the final reward was ( if alive) roman citizenship and a piece of land. A considerable part of those years was spent on training - to be used in short and hard battles (Vroma, 2020). Competence and experience were essential to survival. If we move forward to present days - we can look at auto pioneer Henry Ford. He did not invent the assembly line - but he perfected it. It did mean a lot of very repetitive work, though. Less known is that Ford had serious retention problems. Even when he raised wages - many could not cope with the repetition, day in day out (Payscale, 2020). So modern HRM is based on many years of experience with recruiting and retaining.


It is essential to mention that HRM is a servant of a company's strategy. Human Resources Management is about hiring, retaining, and growing talented employees to reach a company's strategic goals (Kenton, 2020). Both the Romans and Ford knew that they would not win without a competent and loyal workforce or human capital. It demanded education, motivation, training, skills, health, loyalty, and punctuality.


The rise of industry required massive workforces and created modern HRM as a concept. HRM has changed over time - now there is more focus on strategy. So first set a business level strategy - and then an HR strategy. HRM can be defined as a lifecycle that follows an employee on the road from being recruited, first day on the job, training, job coaching, to eventually leaving the organization (Brendan, 2014).


Large companies have complex organizational structures, so HR must fulfill many internal and external stakeholders' roles. Smaller companies have the same functions to perform but have less informal systems - and relationships with employees (Senyucel, 2009). Many models have been created to explain and simplify HRM. Let us take a look at Dave Ulric’s 5B model of processes and roles (Malverde, 2014, p. 14). He has five categories:


Buy / Recruit personnel: Recruitment is a primary function of HRM. It involves a job analysis to create a job description. A selection process must be used to find the right candidates to interview - and finally provide job offers.


Build / Training and coaching: HR should ensure that new employees get the required training to perform their tasks efficiently. Later, training and coaching are essential to develop and retain employees. Borrow: HR can use outside freelancers to develop the employees competencies.

Bounce: Remove employees not performing. HR must conduct effective employee performance management to ensure that the employees' output meets the organization's goals and objectives (Kenton, 2020).

Bind / Retain key talent at all levels: HR must formulate attractive compensation and educational packages to retain key talent.


When evaluating which competencies I consider core for my company - an advertising company - training and coaching are essential. I believe everyone can be taught to do this line of work - but it demands a motivated employee. I also have a saying - "competency and attitude before beauty" which states that one must not hire for presentation.

Looking at HRM core competencies for the future; I see two significant challenges:

  1. People will work more from home so that recruitment can be less dependent on location. Covid 19 has pushed this development ahead - but we need employees to handle this and stay effective.

  2. SoMe Movement: HR departments will have to be more active concerning behavioral aspects. Policies must be easy to understand - and counteractions must be taken in case of abuse.

Could these competencies change? Sure, no doubt, when we look at the last few years of change. HRM must evolve to stay viable and effective. The only way is to be willing to change. In conclusion, HRM is not a new concept but does change with time. It is essential first to create a business strategy - and then an HR strategy. The strategy will provide information about the right competencies needed. This will help us find the right people for the right jobs. HRM departments must always be willing to adapt to new competencies.

References ( LEARN MORE) Brendan. (2014). What is HR? Human Resources Explained. Retrieved from http://www.humanresourcesexplained.com/what-is-hr-2

Digitalhrtech. (2020). 5 Human Resources Models Every HR Practitioner Should Know. Retrieved from https://www.digitalhrtech.com/human-resources-models

Kenton, W. (2020). Human Resources (HR). Investopedia. Retrieved from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/humanresources.asp

Malverde, P. (2014). Talent Management, A focus on Excellence. Bookboon. Retrieved from https://my.uopeople.edu/pluginfile.php/57436/mod_book/chapter/115976/BUS5511.Malverde.Talent.Mgmt.pdf

Payscale. (2018). The Henry Ford Approach to compensation. Retrieved from https://www.payscale.com/compensation-today/2018/06/curb-employee-turnover-henry-ford

Senyucel, Z. (2009). Managing Human Resources in the 21st Century. Bookboon. Retrieved from https://my.uopeople.edu/pluginfile.php/57436/mod_book/chapter/115976/BUS5511.Senyucel.Managing.HR.pdf

Sonneshein, M. (2020). Human Capital. Investopedia. Retrieved from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/humancapital.asp

Vroma. (2020). The Roma Army. Retrieved from http://www.vroma.org/~bmcmanus/romanarmy2.html

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Written by: Allan Loumann Lissau MBA, Kommunikationsrådgiver & Recruiter, Facebook specialist, Founder & CEO / Social Image


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